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  • Henry Park

Such Fine Looking Teeth

Earlier this year, I blogged about how a U.S. District Court found that photos of before and after photographs of teeth by a dentist were not copyrightable because they were not sufficiently original.

Well, hold your horses. The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the infringer (Pohl v. MH Sub I LLC, No. 18-13233, May 1, 2019) (Opinion mirrored on and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

The Court of Appeals determined that the District Court failed to construe the evidence "in the light most favorable to Dr. Pohl and draw every justifiable inference in his favor" (Opinion at p8, 13). Dr. Pohl testified about his selection of camera, his staging of his client, his choice to photograph only the teeth, his choice to have his client smile, and that he always takes the photographs (Opinion at p13-15). When properly construed, the Court of Appeals found a genuine issue of fact as to whether the photographs meet the low bar for original works.

Image is from the District Court's Order on Summary Judgment (Dkt. 61 at p2).

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